Three new books are on my reading stack. Rather than wait until I read them, I wanted to post something about them now, particularly because all three were written by friends of mine. Below are excerpts from their beginnings and something about the book and/or author.
"In the Pearl River Delta of southern China, the land is criss-crossed by water. Rivers, like long fingers, reach deep into the landscape from the South China Sea, and along their banks fertile soil would seem to promise paradise. The climate is subtropical and mild, rainfall is plentiful, and the fields are patchworked in muted tones of green. Farmers tend their rice in rolling terraces. Water buffalo stand placidly in the fields. Where there aren't rice paddies, plots of elephant-leafed taro and pole beans spring from the ground. Sugarcane grows in profusion, and there are mulberry trees, harboring billions of silkworms...."
This book is a revised edition of the original 2000 National Bestseller. Evans has updated it to include information about cultural and political changes in China since she first adopted her daughters, and also to include insights into the lives of adopted girls as they are growing up in the United States.
Karin Evans is a lovely lovely (should I say it again for even greater emphasis?) woman. I had the privilege of getting to know her when we were both recent students in the Seattle Pacific University MFA program.
"Love occupies a special place in the realm of human feelings. We identify it closely with human beings at their best, and this is so whether we view ourselves as secular or religious. Love never really goes out of fashion. It is a perennial source of trouble to cynics. Whatever we may believe or not believe, our love, as the song says, is here to stay...."
Paul Martin and I first "met" via correspondence on his original blog some years ago. His current blog, named for the title of his book, is a place of lively and respectful spiritual dialog. Earlier this year, he applied his gracious conversational skills to an interview with me.
"When you drive down County Road 4 in Bogus Brook Township, turn onto a tree-lined gravel road marked by a yellow Dead End sign. If you are in a dark or speculative mood you might interpret that sign as a message about our lives (or your own). Keep going, past the black and white Holsteins taking shade under the poplars. If the neighbor hasn't just spread liquid manure on his field, roll down your windows to get a glimpse of the wild pink geraniums blooming in the ditch, and to hear the frogs before they cease all at once as you pass their marsh, and pick up again only when you are driving along the cornfields..."
I met Linda Buturian last summer at the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, but she lives outside of Minneapolis (along the Rum River) and teaches at the University of Minnesota. After meeting her and finding out about her book, I went to her reading at Magers & Quinn, one of the few independent bookstores still in existence, and laughed and laughed. The section she read was at once profound and very funny.